We’re not in Kuching anymore, Toto.
We’re off in Penang for a whirlwind trip to visit Annie’s family and eat, eat, eat!
We were here in Penang last year to visit family for Chinese New Year. Penang has some of the best food in the world. However, many of the vendors were shut down for the holiday, leaving us stuck with not too many choices of places to eat – resulting in lower-quality and higher-priced food. In addition, many of Annie’s family had gone out of town. Based on that experience, we vowed not to go back to Penang for Chinese New Year.
This time, we got a good fare on Air Asia to fly from Kuching directly to Penang. No need to fly to KL first and then drive another 4 hours to Penang. Just a short, 2 hour hop, and we’re there! You should have seen the smile on Annie’s face as we walked from the plane.
She was home.
First Things First
Of course, the first thing we do when we get home is eat. Penang has no shortage of places to eat. There are hawker centres in every neighborhood of the city, and they all do a bustling business. Annie’s uncle brought us to Kafe Mandarin in the Island Glades neighborhood in Penang.
Kafe Mandarin @ Island Glades, Penang
There are many stalls all lined up in a row, with each stall specializing in one type of dish or another. Once we took our seats and ordered our drinks, we each chose which dish tickled our fancy.
Annie got the kway teow th’ng (flat rice noodles with fishballs, fish cake and shredded duck meat in a clear soup), which she had been craving for a while. I went for the assam laksa – that sour-sweet-spicy-fishy soup noodle dish is one of the dishes that Penang is most famous for. We shared a portion of the char kway teow (wok-fried rice noodles with egg, prawns, Chinese sausage and beansprouts). To top it off, Annie’s aunt suggested the pan mee (fresh wheat noodles with pork, mushrooms, cangkuk manis and fried ikan bilis in soup) because it was good.
That’s right, four noodle dishes, right off the bat! They were all good, in their own way. The best part about each were the fresh noodles -so soft, smooth, and pliable.
(More food from Kafe Mandarin on Food Diary of a Picky Eater)
After taking a few hours’ rest to digest, we again headed out to Island Glades for dinner. This time, we ended up at the Seng Hin Cafe, on the opposite end of the row of shoplots that Kafe Mandarin was on.
Annie’s uncle visited the nighttime char koay teow stall, run by this gentleman who has been cooking char koay teow for over 40 years, starting with his brother at the now defunct Rex Theatre. Surely, a cook with that many years under his belt would have perfected his signature dish!
Nighttime Char Koay Teow @ Seng Hin Cafe, Island Glades, Penang
Annie picked up a packet of chee cheong fun (steamed rice noodle rolls with sweet shrimp sauce and sesame seeds) from another vendor.
Both dishes were great because the noodles were fresh. There’s just this mysterious, wonderful and elusive flavor that is found in good, fresh rice noodles. A quality I haven’t found yet in Kuching.
(More food from Seng Hin Cafe at Cokeworld Citizen)
What’s YOUR favorite noodle dish? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!
I am entering this post in the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday roundup, created and hosted by Sharon of Test with a Skewer. This is the first post in a series of Penang food that we’ll be putting up, hopefully every Monday. Don’t want to miss any of them; be sure to subscribe to our blog via RSS or email!